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SEC Football Preview 2014: Mississippi State Takes It Easy For a Few Weeks

There are some easy games early and enough likely victories for a bowl berth. But the Bulldogs are probably aiming for a bit more than that this year

Stacy Revere

To say that Mississippi State eases into its schedule might be putting it nicely; the Bulldogs play three teams that are likely to be among the worst in the country this year. The result of that, of course, is that there are very few easy games from there on out. At the same time, you look at the schedule and have to say that Mississippi State ought to be able to get to six wins and bowl eligibility without even trying. It's what they do in the other six games that will determine just how far the Bulldogs go this year.

Wake me up when September ends. This isn't the worst three-game stretch to start the season that one can imagine; after all, they could have wedged an FCS team in there. But it's still pretty bad. Southern Miss used to be good for an upset of a Power 5 opponent every now and then, or at least a threatened upset, but the Golden Eagles have gone 1-23 over the last two seasons. That one win? A 62-27 defeat of UAB in last year's season finale. South Alabama, meanwhile, is heading into its second season as a full-fledged FBS program. But -- hey! -- the end of the month brings a trip to LSU, which has defeated Mississippi State in 14 straight games. The Bulldogs haven't won in Baton Rouge since 1991, and have only won 18 of the 66 games at Tigers Stadium (there was a tie).

Aggies and Tigers and Wildcats -- oh my! In the insanity that was the SEC last year, the 92-point game between Texas A&M and the Bulldogs probably didn't get the attention that it deserved. The winning team has scored at least 38 points over the last three games between the two maroon teams in the SEC West. Perhaps less predictable is the game against Auburn, which in recent years has featured a hodgepodge of close games and blowouts (with Auburn doing most of the blowing out), and very little in between. That might sound like a meaningless statement, but it really is something in any series to go 21 years without a game being decided by more than seven but less than 17 points. State comes into the game against Kentucky, meanwhile, on a five-game winning streak, so here's a guess that Dan Mullen won't be joining Les Miles and Steve Spurrier's quest to do away with the interdivision rivalries anytime soon.

The grind. The consequence of having two bye weeks before November? Playing five games in the space of 29 days. But the month includes a game against Tennessee-Martin, which is a functional bye. Other than that, you have an Arkansas team that might be on the rise, an Alabama team that has won 41 of the 51 games against the Bulldogs in Tuscaloosa and a Commodores team that will come to Starkville having lost 10 of the last 12 in the series. Then, it's the season finale with the Egg Bowl.